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Environment

Posidonia figure on nautical maps of Formentera

daisee-aguilera--miquel-mir--i1The environment office of the Formentera Council reports that nautical maps put out by the Cádiz-based Instituto Hidrográfico de la Marina and featuring information about the island's neighbouring posidonia meadows are now available for purchase in paper and digital formats.

The measure will enable ship capitans to spot meadows and steer clear of them when anchoring. Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera hailed the news, saying “knowing where the sea grass meadows are is crucial to protecting them” and applauding the collaboration between the Formentera Council, the Govern balear and IHM.

While not the sole factor pertinent to explaining recession of the sea grass, boats dropping anchor on meadows is one the causes. Posidonia is a deciduous underwater plant responsible for the clearness of Formentera's waters, which Aguilera cited when asserting the new maps were “groundbreaking for Formentera and for the Mediterranean as a whole”.

April start
A tool to help highlight the presence of posidonia, the acronym “SG” for “sea grass” has incorporated the nomenclature since April, marking the first time an underwater plant is included on nautical maps. The new term makes it possible to differentiate between the plant and seaweed (unlike the former, the latter has previously figured on similar maps).

For reference in the initiative, IHM used maps from Project Life Posidonia as well as eco-mapping from MAPAMA, which contained information about posidonia meadows across the Balearics.

Two months in, organic waste pickup programme keeps 210 tonnes of waste out of landfills

foto materia organica 1The Formentera Council's environment office reports that from May 15 to today, 210 tonnes of organic waste has been collected as part of a programme in which 146 local establishments participate.

In 2018 the administration expanded the service every corner of the island. In the process, two circuits were created to assure organic rubbish pickup for the island's medium-sized and large waste generators. Adherents to the service benefit from an advisory service which is headed up by an “eco-educator” (informadora ambiental) and three agents are responsible for overseeing patrol operations.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera hailed the current campaign as highly successful and thanked participating businesses for their collaboration. “Organic waste pickup helps us optimise our waste management operations”, said the consellera, “and it adds up to real savings in the money we spend transporting rubbish to Eivissa”.

Separating plastics
Aguilera called to mind a similar push in 2017 that resulted in pickup of 100 tonnes of organic waste that was subsequently mixed with green garden clippings. The roughly eight-month process generated some three hundred cubic metres of high-quality, garden- and agriculture-ready compost.

Two employees from a firm called Apfem-Aktua which works to integrate at-risk members of society have joined the campaign this year. Their job is to sift out non-biodegradable plastic material from the compost which is scattered across fields, a process which maximises the quality of the final product.

Twenty-plus watercraft get boot from Estany des Peix shoreline

foto-edpeix-retirada-31The Formentera Council's environment office reports that six derelict pieces of nautical gear are getting the heave-ho today from the waterline of Estany des Peix. From boats and kayaks to windsurf boards and trailers, this most recent operation puts the current total of objects removed from the lakeside at over twenty.

As the island's environment secretary, Daisee Aguilera, explained: “When it comes to our attention that something  has been left on the shore, we issue a notice and give owners one month to come and get it. If they don't, it's considered rubbish”. So far this summer, agents charged with patrolling the waterline have written eleven citations for cases of dumping.

The patrols enabled objects to be identified as either abandoned or likely to leak potentially dangerous liquids. In some cases, agents found that the left objects blocked peoples' passage through the area.

When the condition a boat or other object is in either makes it a leak hazard or renders its navigation unsafe, the Council can report it to the responsible authorities, in this case Demarcació de Costes, the coastal authority in the Balearics, and ses Salines nature reserve, part of the Govern balear. If the object is still there after one month, it is considered waste, a condition that then enables the Formentera Council to remove it and issue a fine.

The majority of found objects don't possess features by which their owners can be identified and are transported to waste management facilities at es Cap de Barbaria.

Formentera takes aim at cockroaches

fumigacio---anti-paneres-cuque1The Formentera Council's environment office reports that anti-roach treatments are currently being deployed in the residential areas of Sant Francesc, ses Bardetes, Sant Ferran, es Caló, la Mola, es Pujols, sa Roqueta and la Savina.

Soaring cockroach populations are one anticipated knock-on effect of searing summer heat, which is why the Council has activated the pest control strategy. The operations are overseen by a company of pest control experts and involve the use of special products in the sewerage network and other sites controlled by the municipal administration.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera called for collaboration from people in the island's urban centres to see to it the measures, which are in addition to the normal debugging operations overseen by the Council, have maximum effect. She urged everyone experiencing cockroach infestations —individual islanders and businesses alike— to treat the problem as soon as possible. Septic tanks deserve particular attention, she said, calling them breeding grounds for the pests and adding that “tanks that are no longer in use should be duly sealed off”.

Islanders should let the environment department know when they plan to mount pest control treatments in residential areas or urban buildings in case additional street-level hygiene measures are required. Pest control measures should be executed at night or early in the morning, when there are few people in the streets.

Contact the environment office by telephone (971 32 12 10) or e-mail ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) with any questions.

Nearly 3k of waste hauled from ecological hotspots around Formentera

foto residus 1On January 25, 2017, a special committee charged with promoting sustainable tourism in the Balearic Islands picked the projects that will receive money from the sustainable tourism levy in 2016.

One the chosen projects was a plan to employ at-risk individuals in yearly coastal cleanups at beaches, coves and other public places. Architects of the plan say they aim to protect, preserve and restore natural, rural and agrarian settings.

The nearly €45,000 project, steered by the Balearic ministry of environment, agriculture and fishing's “Quality Environments Service”, began last April and will continue to July.

Sebastià Sansó, chief of ecology education, environmental quality and waste, joined CiF environment secretary Daisee Aguilera for a first-hand look at the operations conducted by Apfem-Aktua cleaning crews. To date, 2,815 kilograms of waste have been taken away.

Efforts included transport and recycling of litter pulled from nearby waters, environmental outreach, environmental patrols and accident reporting, waste tracking studies, extraction and removal of invasive species, studying distribution of local plant known as “marine fennel” and gathering of graphic information for outreach.

On Eivissa and Formentera, contracts to coordinate operations were awarded to Apfem-Aktua and the Balearic Islands Red Cross. As an “investment project” offering long-term employment prospects, the initiative gave workers experience towards employment in the public and private sectors and reinforced the stability of their professional prospects moving forward.

Apart from the immediately visible impact offered by upkeep in public spaces, coves and beaches and waste removal in the outdoors, Sansó described the project as “a chance to educate the public on ecological issues”.

The beaches and coves included in the project are coastal areas with unique ecological significance, whether as protected natural spaces (ENP for the initials in Catalan) or designated sites on the EU’s Natura 2000 network of nature protection areas.

Explaining the effectiveness of the programme, Daisee Aguilera pointed out that the places that receive attention aren't often the places most frequented by tourists. One sight that is all too common? Washed up plastic objects. Aguilera described plastics in the seas as a “planetary problem” and urged “ongoing action to raise awareness about the harm they do”. Worse yet, she said, is that plastic rubbish makes its way into the food chain and affects both plants and humans—“with all the dangers and setbacks that go along with it”. As evidence of the programme's social impact the secretary held up the participation of at-risk individuals, for whom the initiative offers many different opportunities—“a job, the quality of life boost of receiving a paycheck, and the satisfaction of caring for the local environment”.

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